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News of the Weird

The Associated Press
Tuesday May 07, 2002

Payback not enough 


SIMPSON, Pa. — More than 50 years ago, a thief stole $20 from Michael Langol’s college room. The money has been returned but Langol isn’t satisfied. 

Langol is now obsessed with tracking down the remorseful thief. He hasn’t even cashed the money order yet. 

In January, Langol got a money order for $500 — along with a note in which the sender confessed to the crime but only identified himself as a former classmate at Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tenn. 

Langol traced the money order’s serial number to the Cleveland area. He then contacted Tusculum’s alumni office to get a list of fellow students who might fit the bill. 

The search has so far proved fruitless. 

“I think I have it narrowed down to two guys,” said Langol, now 70. “My wife doesn’t want me to, but I’m going to find out who it is.” 

Langol said he had reported the missing cash to college authorities, but the investigation turned up no suspects. Soon after, he dropped out, got married, started a family and owned and operated a successful masonry business in northeastern Pennsylvania. 

But he never forgot about the stolen cash. After all, $20 was a lot of money in 1951. 

“Back then, $20 was like a day’s pay,” he said. “I remember buying a seersucker suit in Tennessee for $17.” 


Unpaid bill gets costly 


SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. — A $6.34 plumbing bill nearly cost a World War II veteran the roof over his head. 

Before an alert friend noticed, James Provensano, 81, was almost evicted from his subsidized apartment because he neglected to pay for repairs. 

The friend paid the bill, and the eviction notice for Provensano’s home at Garden Apartment was rescinded. The notice arrived on April 12, giving two weeks for payment, and was paid on the 17th. 

“When they start doing things like that, I get furious,” Provensano said last week. “I was furious, I was mad.” 

Eviction proceedings are initiated if a tenant does not pay a bill — regardless of the amount — and does not ask for a hearing within 14 days, said Frank Chavers, executive director of Brevard Family of Housing Authorities. 

Provensano said he had a leak from a kitchen drain, which was fixed. Months later, the notice of eviction came, showing he had failed to pay the $6.34 bill. 


Grass greener with paint 


SANTA FE, N.M. — The drought-stricken city of Santa Fe — which has restricted outdoor watering to once a week — doesn’t have to worry about the green grass at the Santa Fe Auto Park. 

With good reason — it’s paint. 

“The grass sod we put in last year has more or less died, and we just had it colored green with some paint,” said George Woolard of Santa Fe Chevrolet. “It’s not a whole lot of grass. It’s just a little bit of grass. But now it’s green.” 

Monty Mitchell, general manager of Premier Motorcars, said the four automobile dealerships that own the park decided to paint the grass to save water. 

It looks so realistic Mitchell expects complaints. 

“I’m sure we’ll wind up with a few phone calls from citizens concerned about water use,” he said. 

Last week, a painting crew freshened the landscape, spray-painting about 2,500 square feet of dead or dying grass at the business’ entrance.